Implications of Increasing Family Poverty Given the disturbing increases in income inequality in the United States, Great Britain, and other industrial countries, it is vital to consider the impact of placing ever larger numbers of families with children into lower SES groups. In addition to placing children into conditions which are detrimental to their immediate health status, there may well be a negative behavioural and psychosocial health dividend to be reaped in the future. Poverty Rate (%) Child Poverty in Lone-Parent and Other Families in Canada and Four Comparison States, 2000 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 55.5 51.6 45.6 13.8 10.4 3.6 Canada Denmark 13.3 1.5 15.8 6.7 Sweden UK USA Source: Innocenti Report Card on Child Poverty in Rich Nations, June 2002 Other Families Lone-Parent Poverty Rate (%) Percentage of Persons Living in Poverty in LoneParent Working and Non-Working Families in Canada and Four Comparison States, 1994 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 73.0 72.0 65.0 39 34.0 26 24.0 10 Canada Denmark 23 4 Sweden UK Source: Society at a Glance, OECD, 2001 Non-Working Single Working Single USA Proportion Using Facilities Proportion of Young Children Using Child Care Facilities in Canada and Four Comparison States, 1998, 1999 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 83 79 71 60 58 44 50 48 26 2 Canada Denmark Sweden UK Source: Kamerman, 2000 0 to 3 Years 3 years to Mandatory Age USA Childcare and Early Child Education Government Policy Situation in Canada, 2000 вЂў Canadian governments provide universal education for children ages 5-6, but for those under five years of age, government supported childcare may be available for those with special needs, poor, or working parents. The funding strategies are mixed, but come primarily from parent fees. Only 10% of Canadian children have access to regulated child care. вЂў Primary source: Kamerman, 2000 Childcare and Early Child Education Government Policy Situation in Denmark, 2000 вЂў Danish governments provide universal education for children 5-7, and provides childcare from 6 months to six years for working parents. Government funding is supplemented by income-related parent fees to a maximum of 20-30% of costs. вЂў Primary source: Kamerman, 2000 Childcare and Early Child Education Government Policy Situation in Sweden, 2000 вЂў Swedish governments provide universal childcare and early childhood education for children from birth through six years of age. Funding is provided by federal and local governments. вЂў Primary source: Kamerman, 2000 Childcare and Early Child Education Government Policy Situation in the UK, 2000 вЂў The United Kingdom provides universal education for children 3-4 years of age. From ages 0-4 child care is available for special needs and poor families with funding coming from governments or income-related fees. вЂў Primary source: Kamerman, 2000 Childcare and Early Child Education Government Policy Situation in the USA, 2000 вЂў The United States provides free education for children aged 5. For children from 0-4 years of age child care is available for special needs, poor, welfare, and working parents. Funding comes from governments but parent fees cover 76% of costs. Many US parents are unable to afford such care. вЂў Primary source: Kamerman, 2000 Provisions for Paid Maternity Leave in Canada and Four Comparison Nations, 1995-1996, 2002 вЂў Canada: Fifty-two weeks paid at 55%. вЂў Denmark: Twenty-eight weeks paid at 100% salary. вЂў Sweden: Fifty-two weeks paid at 80% salary. вЂў United Kingdom: Twelve weeks paid at 90%. вЂў United States: Unpaid. вЂў Source: International Reform Monitors, 2002. Policies that Support Compatibility of Work and Bringing Up Children in Canada, 2002 вЂў Canadian provincial governments provide subsidized child care for some low income parents, but supply is inadequate to the demand and cutbacks have worsened the situation in some provinces. Most families still must use private, unregulated child care. The most enlightened province is Quebec which introduced subsidized child care for all children. The pursuit of family-friendly workplaces on the part of employers remains in its infancy in Canada. The National Child Benefit is available to low income families but many provinces claw these back from families on social assistance. Policies that Support Compatibility of Work and Bringing Up Children in Denmark, 2002 вЂў Denmark provides comprehensive provision of social services to support families. There are day nurseries, municipal day care centres, kindergartens, youth recreation centres, and age integrated institutions. Extra benefits are provided for single-parent families. вЂў Source: International Reform Monitor, Newsletters, 2002 Policies that Support Compatibility of Work and Bringing Up Children in Sweden, 2002 вЂў Sweden has very good infrastructure of support services to working parents. There is a parental allowance of 60 days per year per child for sick children under 12 years of age. Fees for childcare expenses are being lowered and unemployed parents are guaranteed three hours of child care per day. Extra benefits are provided for single-parent families. вЂў Source: International Reform Monitor, Newsletters, 2002 Policies that Support Compatibility of Work and Bringing Up Children in the UK, 2002 вЂў In the United Kingdom new measures are being implemented to assist employed single parents such as a child tax credit and obtain child care. вЂў Source: International Reform Monitor, Newsletters, 2002 Policies that Support Compatibility of Work and Bringing Up Children in the USA, 2002 вЂў In the USA some employers offer subsidized child care facilities; the vast majority do not. After welfare reform, more low income families with children need to find and hold jobs. Federal employees are entitled to 24 hours per year for paid work-leave for child-related activities. вЂў Source: International Reform Monitor, Newsletters, 2002 Policy Trends Weakening Moves Towards Quality Child Care for Canadian Women вЂў the reinforcing of decentralist tendencies in government, which resulted in part from anxieties about Quebec separation вЂў governmental dealing with fiscal pressures through reduced social and health expenditures вЂў federal withdrawal from program responsibility through power devolution to the provinces. вЂў - Doherty, Friendly, and Oloman, 1998. Figure 14: Changes in Number of Low Income Children in Ontario Since 1989 In Female Sole Support Families 89% 91% In Two Income Families 62% In Long Term Unemployed Families 48% In Full Employment Families 103% In Working Low Income Families Total Number of Low Income Children 0% 20% 91% 40% 60% 80% 100%120% Percentage Increase Figure 17: Increases in Waiting Lists for Subsidized Housing, 1988-98, Toronto 500% 500% 400% 300% 300% 200% 100% 100% 0% Seniors Families Singles Low Income % 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Q1-Richest Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5-Poorest 1971 1986 1991 1996 Canadian Policy Directions It has become obvious that people on the low end of the income scale are cut off from the ongoing economic growth that most Canadians are enjoying. It is also obvious that in these times of economic prosperity and government surpluses that most governments are not yet prepared to address these problems seriously, nor are they prepared to ensure a reasonable level of support for low-income people either inside or outside of the paid labour force. -- Poverty Profile, 1998. Ottawa: National Council of Welfare Reports, Autumn, 2000. Reducing Health Inequalities We consider that without a shift of resources to the less well off, both in and out of work, little will be accomplished in terms of a reduction of health inequalities by interventions addressing particular downstreamвЂ™ influences. -- Report of the Acheson Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health, 1998, p. 33.